Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lang Lang: Playing with Flying Keys” as Want to Read:
Lang Lang: Playing with Flying Keys
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lang Lang: Playing with Flying Keys

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  148 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
HE STARTED LEARNING to play the piano when he was three years old in Shenyang, China. Today he is one of the world’s most outstanding pianists. In this engrossing life story, adapted by Michael French, Lang Lang not only recounts the difficult, often thrilling, events of his early days, but also shares his perspective on his rapidly changing homeland. He thoughtfully explo ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Laurel Leaf (first published 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lang Lang, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lang Lang

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

The name Lang Lang should be a household word by now. Performing in the Bird's Nest for the Opening Ceremony at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, over 34.9 million viewers in the U.S. alone tuned in to watch. For many, this was their first introduction to the musical phenomena from China. At only 26 years of age, Lang Lang has accomplished more than many twice his age.

Starting at a young age, when most of us aren't even out of diapers yet, Lang Lang showed an aff
Doris Wedge
Jan 04, 2010 Doris Wedge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating story of the brilliant classical pianist Lang Lang (that's his real first and last name, with each having a different meaning in Chinese lore). He learned to play the piano at age 2 and by by his teen years he had won national (China) and international awards and estimates he had spent 20,000 hours in practice. Readers of "The Outliers" will have a reference point in the number 10,000 hours of so many high achievers. He grew up in such poverty, and had parents who devoted t ...more
Sep 16, 2009 Shenek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An autobiography of a child prodigy from China. A fascinating book. It makes me realize that China and the U.S. are in different worlds. I doubt that he would have been a child prodigy if he had been born in the states. His father had a very strict work ethic that Lang Lang was forced to followed. Lang Lang shows how this strict work ethic plus the love of his mother and the teachings of his professors brought him to where he stands today.

My biggest complaint....this is a book on CD about a pia
May 07, 2014 Brenna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I was getting "Lang Lang: Journey of a Thousand Miles" from the library, and didn't realize that there are two Lang Lang biographies. It seems that this one is geared towards youth, so it wasn't as in-depth in regards to his feelings about his father and as a pianist I wanted to know more about the specifics of his practicing. Interesting nonetheless to read how he came up the ranks and was discovered.
I believe this is a youth abridgment of his "Journey of a Thousand Miles." American readers may be disturbed by Lang Lang's father's singlemindedness in making his son the #1 pianist in the world. But it is also a viewpoint on cultural differences regarding success. Fortunately, Lang Lang also has had mentors, role models and experiences that taught him the importance of balance in life. A provocative biography about a child prodigy.
Sep 29, 2008 Cindi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just started listening to this one today for my time in the van when the kids have been dropped off. I'm really enjoying it.

Update: I really, really liked this book on CD. I loved hearing about growing up in China as a prodigy. I loved hearing about the intersection between American and Chinese culture. Lang Lang is an amazing individual. I'd really like to see him perform live. I'm going to look at my library to see if there are any DVD's to check out!
Dec 12, 2012 Clarissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

I am interested in his story. 2000 per years practice is unbelievable. Comparing to tiger mom, his father could be considered as super super super Tiger. He is born in 1982, Shenyang, China.
One aspect I find particular interesting is Lang Lang's reflection of high competitive artistic culture in China, question about being Number One, acquiring an understanding of spirituality.
Feb 03, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, asia
Read this book, then you'll know what made Lang Lang the way he is today. The way his father raised him proved exactly what Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in his book, The Outliers...There's no such thing as a prodigy, but a hardworking person who happens to be at the right place at the right time, and works on whatever he's good at much more frequently than all the other people.
May 02, 2012 Ella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in reading this after hearing Lang Lang perform. The novel highlights the culture differences between China and North America. Even though I know I will never be as accomplished in music as Lang Lang, this novel furthered my enjoyment of music and has urged me to be passionate about my music, the same way attending the symphony does.
Jul 23, 2010 Podaire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chinese, pianist
Helps the reader really understand how youth move through the competition processes in the world of music. It also allows us to view his home and country life whether in China and America. I appreciated how some of the masters of the piano around the world embraced him and helped him to cultivate his own style and competence in that.
Feb 28, 2013 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
I read both the adult and young adult version of this book. I believe that much of the material was taken from the adult edition written by David Ritz but somehow this one, oriented towards younger readers, seemed more compelling. It could be because Lang Lang's early life in China was so harrowing and dramatic; it was more effective from a younger POV.
Rudy Cordeiro
Apr 18, 2014 Rudy Cordeiro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read. My wife and I had the opportunity to watch him in concert, and his fiery personality was only matched by his technical virtuosity. Although this bio goes only into his early thirties, it was still a good documentation of the journey Lang Lang had to take to get to the world stage.
Aug 02, 2011 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up on the $1 shelf. An interesting read for those interested in Chinese culture and parenting. He provides a view that's heartbreaking at times. I need to check into the real world of classical music and see how he's doing now :-).
AFter reading Battle Hymn of Mother Tiger, this one was mild. And in Lang Lang's case it was a Father Tiger. Interesting story, but I just have to wonder about all those pianists out there who practice hours and hours and aren't winners of the competitions.
Sep 16, 2011 Analisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an easy and enjoyable read. I can't help but wonder if all the sacrifice and time he spent (especially as a YOUNG child) are worth it. I will never know...I'll never spend as much time, nor be able to play as well.
Jun 22, 2014 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Straightforward, simple autobiography of LangLang. Very fast read, I think this is intended for a young audience.
Dec 31, 2008 Meaghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Monkey King!
Jun 19, 2009 Phyllis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow...I'm amazed of what he had to go through to get to where he's at. Very inspiring! I actually saw him perform live at the San Francisco Davis Symphony Hall last December.
Sep 26, 2010 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book about hard work. In particular, the different form competition takes in America vs. China was pretty interesting. And the physical-heaviness-to-worth-carrying-around ratio was right on.
Nov 15, 2015 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I said "wow" a lot.
Jun 01, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
omg. i really enjoyed this book. it was amazing.
Feb 06, 2016 Reggie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved reading about Lang Lang's life. Couldn't put it down.
Chris C.
May 28, 2013 Chris C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This book is amazing. It shows insight on how harsh Lang Lang was treated so he could become as good as he is today. I felt all the emotions that he felt when he was a boy.
Mar 31, 2015 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story of an amazing talent. Based on his autobiography, this version is written for youth.
Christy EVHS Nguyen
It was interesting to learn about all the difficulties he went through to become a famous pianist.
Hannah McMillin
Hannah McMillin rated it really liked it
Apr 05, 2017
Stephanie rated it it was amazing
May 21, 2015
Jonathan Funk
Jonathan Funk rated it really liked it
Mar 29, 2012
Seaweed rated it really liked it
Oct 15, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Village that Vanished
  • True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life
  • The Soong Dynasty
  • Images of the Beatles
  • The Art of Piano Playing
  • My Young Years
  • Mozart
  • True Heart (The Unicorn's Secret, #6)
  • Joys and Sorrows: Reflections by Pablo Casals
  • Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children's Literature
  • Muhammad
  • Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations
  • Catwalk
  • Koneen ruhtinas: Pekka Herlinin elämä
  • Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing
  • Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination
  • Honey for a Woman's Heart: Growing Your World through Reading Great Books
  • My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers in Music
Journey of a Thousand Miles

Number One was a phrase my father -- and, for that matter, my mother --repeated time and time again. It was a phrase spoken by my parents friends and by their friends children. Whenever adults discussed the great Chinese painters and sculptors from the ancient dynasties, there was always a single artist named as Number One. There was the Number One leader of a manufactu

More about Lang Lang...

Share This Book